Tag Archives: Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Thanks, 2013, for a move to the Dunes

When I moved back to Indiana in 2011 and wanted to live as close to the lake as I could, I bought a bungalow 11 miles south of the Indiana Dunes State Park. I thought it heaven because my dog and I could be on the sand in just 20-minutes.

cover We walked the shoreline in all sorts of weather – humid, summer mornings before it got too hot and frigid days with the low winter sun making my shadow about six feet longer than my actual height.

Aw’gy got longer, too, on the winter beach. And he loved it! Running, that is. I don’t know if it was because he was born in the desert or simply the freedom of running the sand with abandon but this dog loves the beach!

So you might imagine how happy dog and owner are now that we’ve moved to a Duneland community, in a house within walking distance to the lake! Yup, 2013 brought us a house in the dunes, which we happily share with our man (that’s another story.) Now, THIS is heaven!

Because the community is situated along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, we’re surrounded by nature. Houses sit atop and between sand dunes covered with trees, shrubs, flowers and vines. Streets roll and curve up and down and around the dunes.  Continue reading

How can you love a lake for cry eye?

Today is a day to be truly grateful for living on the shores of Lake Michigan. The weather is glorious with clear blue skies. Only 60 degrees but I would have bet it was 75 at the lake this morning. It is joyful to see my dog Aw’gy tear down the beach or bite the water with his houndy muzzle. It brings me joy to be here. I love this lake.

I always thank Aw'gy for getting me out in the morning.

I always thank Aw’gy for getting me out in the morning.

After 7 years in New Mexico, I told friends I was leaving to be closer to family and the lake.

“You’re moving because you miss the lake? We have lakes in New Mexico.”

Well, yes. Technically. But nothing like the Great Lakes.

As a kid in Whiting, IN – about 8 blocks from the lake – my mom or someone’s mom would take us to the beach nearly every summer day. We’d pack up PB&Js; don suits, shorts, shirts and Keds and head to Whiting Park. From my dad’s store on the Boulevard, we’d take 117th Street, cross three sets of tracks and a red-bricked street to the beach.

For a little kid it seemed like a re-a-l-l-y lo-o-ng walk. But then, if you’re 5 or 6 with short legs anyway …

Those trips to the beach meant everything to me. Sheer joy. Our tradition started with my mother’s family living in Whiting and enjoying the lake, camping at the Dunes. And it continues to this day as my siblings bring their children, and their children’s children to the shore. Kids frolic in the waves, wade or swim out to the sandbar, build sand castles, eat PB&Js.

A year ago I lived 11 miles from the lake but thanks to a benevolent Universe, I’m less than a half mile. “Close enough to walk, not close enough to carry a full cooler,” I’ve been told. There’s no excuse not to visit the lake everyday, but some silly sense of responsibility tells me I’ve got to work first. I’m no longer that short little kid (I’m a short big kid.) Something’s telling me to rethink my priorities and spend more time with the lake I love.

(Note: As I write this, thoughts are with a family in New Mexico that lost a son to Lake Michigan this year. News reports said he went out to watch a storm. Many of us learned early on “the lake that thinks it’s an ocean” is to be respected.)

What defined your 2012?

When you look back over the past 363 days do you see trial and hardship or joy and celebration? There were some sad times for me during 2012 but in my rearview mirror, it all looks very, very good.


Who needs the Land of Enchantment? Dig this sunrise over Hoosierland!

A year ago yesterday I moved to Porter County. I’ve got a sweet house in a safe neighborhood, just 11 miles south of the lake that I love.  In fact, Lake Michigan was one of two major reasons I moved back to the Region from SoNewMex. Friends in Las Cruces thought I was nuts.

“I can understand missing your family,” a friend said after I gave him my top reasons for relocating. “But missing the lake? How can you miss a lake? We have water in New Mexico.”

Sorry, no, you don’t.


Soulmate – Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

You have some inland lakes – beautiful mountain lakes, yes – and the Rio Grande, basically an irrigation ditch in the Las Cruces area. Oh, and “the lake” southern New Mexicans refer to is Elephant Butte – a reservoir created by damming the Rio near Truth or Consequences. But you haven’t seen a lake until you’ve seen the great lakes. Great enough to pull me back home!

Being back in Indiana after 30 years has been wonderful. Aw’gy and I have walked many miles up and down the lake’s sandy shoreline and dunes. More importantly, I’ve been able to reconnect with my siblings and their 30-some children and grandchildren. Regardless, last winter was hard, and it wasn’t because of ice and snow. It was hard because I had to grieve.

This time last year I was happily nesting into my bungalow and at the same time planning a drive to New Mexico for the month of March. Friends saved one of their rental casitas for me. I even had a volunteer gig lined up  at an art fair. But toward the end of January I was getting cold feet about driving south. Some inner turmoil was stirring. Something that demanded my attention.

I used to hate “inner turmoil” until I realized its importance. Turmoil is the lubricant for change. I realized if I spent March in New Mexico I wouldn’t settle into my new digs. What’s more, I needed to replant my Hoosier roots and grieve over leaving Las Cruces.

It wasn’t easy.

I spent two years working on the move – prepping the house, listing it, burying St. Joseph upside down in the front yard (facing northeast, the direction I planned to move) along with a note and family photos, giving away stuff, selling stuff, watching movers load 7,200 pounds of leftovers. Further, I had to let go of friends, living where the skies are not cloudy all day, mountains, desert fragrances, being able to walk my dog for miles in any direction without traffic.

I loved my life in New Mexico. It was important for me to move there, make my way in a wonderful but strange land, “find myself.” But after visits back to the midwest – probably a dozen trips in 7 years – it became clear to me that my heart was with my family, and I missed the lake.

Moving back to Indiana was a defining moment of my year, and probably one of the defining times of my life. It wasn’t an easy move as it took time and plenty of resources, but I’ve been lavishinly rewarded for following my heart.

Turmoil is a lubricant for change. What turmoil is stirring inside you? What are you going to do about it in the coming year? From the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the lake, I wish you and your loved ones a very peaceful, productive and happy new year. Thanks for reading and subscribing to WordScarab.

There'll be a full moon tonight, but I must admit it won't look like this one over my neighbor's house in New Mexico.

There’ll be a full moon tonight, but I must admit it won’t look like this one over my neighbor’s house in New Mexico.

Wishing you a wet Labor Day

This is about recognizing your emotions and knowing what to do with them.

Aw'gy lapping up Lake Michigan, Thursday 8.30.12

Yesterday, I took Aw’gy on a long-overdue walk up the lakeshore. It was a gorgeous morning, about 7:30. The air was warming, the sky was blue and the lake was placid. Lovely. On occasion, I talk to the lake but this time I recorded my monologue. I was choking up. (LakeTears)

“This lake fills my soul,” I said. “I can feel the water seeping into every part of my spirit, my being. Pushes up into my throat, into my eyes and out as tears.”

It’s not the first time Lake Michigan brought tears to my eyes. I can picture the scene as though it were yesterday.

It was late spring 2000 and I was moving down the Chicago lakefront from Fullerton to North Avenue as I did on foot, rollerblades, bicycle for many years.

(Holy cow. I am definitely in a wet place right now as the emotions are welling up again. I’ll have to check the calendar to find out if there is some loss anniversary. Oh, right. I was getting divorced, my mother had a stroke on my birthday and died over Labor Day weekend. Think THAT could be it?!! The divorce was final three weeks after she passed. Yeah, maybe, that’s part of it.)

Anyway, THAT day, the lake made me step off the cement and cross the sand. I stood there looking at the water.

“What? What do you want?”

My wayback machine took me to fun times with my brother and other kids in the late ’50s and ’60s – diving into the waves, running from the waves, splashing. Those summers, we were at Whiting Beach everyday.

Then I talked to the lake.

“Look at you. You never change. You’re the same, awesome lake you’ve been all these years. Long before me.”

Then the lake whispered something to my soggy brain.

“You haven’t changed. You’re still the same singing dancing girl you’ve always been.”

In dreams, I’m told, water signifies emotion. I guess that makes me emotional because over the years I’ve had dreams about flooded basements and bathrooms and tsunamis. There were many, many tsunamis.

I didn’t know how much I needed that lake visit. “Tears of joy – wash you clean,” Tuck and Patti sing. “Why don’t you let – them – set – you – free.”

This is important because it’s good to plug into wet emotions or dry ones if that’s how they come to you. I have been troubled all week but didn’t know why. What I did know is not to attack others, as in “YOU did this or that and that’s why I’m upset.”

Nope, this is another tsunami.

My hope for you is that you are in touch with your emotions. That you can honor them, use them to grow, “to water your garden.” Feeling my tears reminded me I put my balance on hold – threw the mind-body-spirit thing out the window with the bathwater.

I’m wishing you a wet Labor Day because I wish you time to honor your emotions. Listen to your lake. What is it telling you?




One way to manage our egosystem

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I’m climbing out on the selfish limb to ask that the next time you head out to buy two dozen bottles of water, please don’t. Two BIG reasons I moved back to Indiana are to be with my family and … Continue reading